Local ladies on Sarti beach contemplating what goes on in Greece’s Athos peninsula, from which women are prohibited.
– German is, unusually for Greece, the second language, not English. Even some signs are in German!
– Accommodation is limited, with few big hotels, though extensive and attractive camping sites abound.
Many visitors stay in Domatia (apartments), which are well equipped suites including a kitchenette, but no 24hour services, food or drink provided. They are excellent value, comfortable, newish, often with balcony and usually exist in villages where all supplies can be bought nearby at a good price.
– Waves: The most attractive side of the peninsula, the east, has steady breezes that often create choppy waves – good for windsurfing, not so wonderful for toddlers or the super-lazy, though there are some well protected beaches in the east.
– Night Action: Sithonia is not a wild nights zone, except perhaps for the biggest town, Neos Marmara. For club scenes better to try Halkidiki’s first finger, Kassandra.
Best season in Halkidiki
Best: May-June, September-mid October for sightseeing, though the Aegean will be chilly for swimming till June.
Worst: mid July – August. Greece is over heated, overcrowded and suffers the random Meltemi wind, making sea travel wobbly and beach use uncomfortable.
Mid October-February is the cold wet season.
Where to go in Sithonia, Halkidiki
Having your own transport in Halkidiki’s Sithonia is a major asset. The roads are uncluttered and gorgeous and the scattered beaches have different characters that bear some investigation. Rental transport is reasonably good value and very time efficient so take a driving licence with you and keep your options open.
East Coast, Sarti
Sarti town, Sithonia.
The sand here is generally coarse and the sea – fanned by a steady breeze – can be choppy, but experienced travellers who are in the mood for the perfect beach will simply jump on their scooters and head off for the day.
Others will enjoy the views across to Mt Athos and stroll to the far south end of Sarti’s beach where there are mini dunes and finer sand. Tourists in Halkidiki tend to be Germans, Scandinavians and Bulgarians, though locals can make a good stab at English.
Sarti beach and town view, Sithonia.
***Sarti, a small attractive town that follows the curve of a large and picturesque beach and peers up at Mount Athos across the water.
The sand is coarse and water a little choppy but both families and couples seem content with 180 degrees of magnificent views to the front and a good cluster of bars, shops and restaurants in the rear.
Accommodation is an excellent selection of Greeck domatia built in tasteful, small apartment blocks. One element that makes Sarti special is authentic, flower encumbered Greek cottages, housing authentic old Greek people scattered around the town.
A beachside tourist apartment (domatio), pity about the cables! Sithonia, Halkidiki.
Block of new domatia (apartments) designed for foreigners, have been constructed facing Mt Athos and only 5 metres from the beach. Like much of Greece, Sarti is growing, with smart new domatia appearing regularly, and one suspects, little old cottages disappearing just as regularly.
Domatia are well equipped, very clean, with balconies overlooking the beach and a useful little kitchen. Twenty metres away in the street behind are grocer stores, restaurants and bars.
A quiet and familiar night on Sarti’s main street in the evening.
Campers who enjoy primitive conditions will be happy in the pine woods of eastern Sithonia, Halkildiki, where the views are sensational and the beaches sublime.
Official camp sites these are not, so facilities such as running water do no exist. Thus some wheels would be useful for travelling to and from local grocer stores and moving location when the endless blue becomes tiresome.
This area is called Kavourotrypes, and it’s a series of charming little coves about 15km north of Sarti. They are not signposted so just dive into the pines just north of the big official camp site nearby.
East Coast, south of Sarti
Kalamitsi beach, Sithonia.
***Kalamitsi. In the far south of Sithonia, past Sarti, is this tiny cluster of tavernas, domatia and camping. The bay is attractive, the sand is softer and whiter than Sarti and the area much less developed, but this means, of course, that evening choice of eating/drinking / shopping is extremely limited.
Just about as far as you can get in Sithonia without becoming amphibious (160 kms/100 miles from Thessaloniki), tiny Kalamitsi village is very, very quiet, and has a large soft, sheltered beach. This beach would suit couples or families who like a less-than-wild night life but a quality beach experience – though forget watersports.
New development is under construction and we hope that it’s restrained enough not to spoil the tranquility of this little known spot.
Bugbog’s choice of beach place in the peninsula would be Kalamitsi or Sarti.
The road south down the Sithonia peninsula from Sarti. A biker’s best, even if it is a mini motor.
The Sithonia peninsula is a fine destination for independent travellers, particularly motorcyclists as roads are heavenly curved and empty but in addition to the usual gravel-rash caveat also beware honeybee-meets-eyeball situations when moving at speed without eye protection, the region seems to have a thriving bee industry.
Sithonia West Coast, Halkidiki
The far southeast corner of the Sithonia peninsula en route to the west coast.
Sithonia’s west coast is less charming and more open and commercial than the east, with a number of large resort hotels and plenty of marine sports activities that are not an option on the quiet side.
Agios Ionnisis a long stretch of sand just after Nikiti. It’s a little unkempt and there are almost no facilities nearby, but the water’s calm and clear and the sand reasonably foot friendly.
The biggest town on the peninsula, Neos Marmaras. This is the liveliest town in Greece’s Sithonia and offers a lot of accommodation and activities, but is not very attractive, nor does it have especially good beaches.
One of Toroni’s tranquil little beaches right at the end of the peninsula with good sand and water, plenty of domatia and tavernas to fulfil tourists’s needs and a soul that some other beaches lack.
And finally Lagomandra beach, no accommodation nearby and the sand is very coarse, but this is the place for watersports with a wide selection available or Porto Koufohuddles in an appealing, enclosed bay at the south end of the peninsula. The sand is fine but there isn’t much of it, nor is there much choice of facilities.